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Tag Archives: Cook

Cioppino – Seafood Stew

13 Feb

Happy Valentines Day tomorrow!  I meant to give you this succulent Cioppino earlier in case you were looking for a special dinner inspiration, but better now than never.  You’ll want to save this recipe for your seafood-loving friends and family; they’ll be hard pressed to find a dinner as enjoyable as this intensely mouthwatering seafood stew.  Your peeps will adore you for cooking up this Cioppino for any special dinner.

Cioppino 1

I’ve been a seafood fan all my life.  My parents are adept at dishing up delicious sea fare, and living near the ocean most of my life sure didn’t hurt our fresh seafood consumption.  If you enjoy seafood, you already know there are very few things that parallel the awesomeness of a deeply satisfying bowl of good Cioppino.

Cioppino

We were previously under the assumption that Cioppino originated in Italy, which I gather is a common assumption.  In reality, Cioppino is considered Italian-American, as it was originated in good ol’ San Fransisco.  Cioppino is a concoction that resulted from fishermen combining their catches, creating a hearty stew with whatever good stuff was in their boats.  Catch-of-the-day stew.

Cioppino 4

I personally am supremely thankful for those fishermen who helped propel this wonderfully hearty, satisfying, and healthy stew.  It’s the perfect solution for cold weather dinners, and scrumptiously satisfying with crusty bread.  The bread is a must-have, for soaking up every drop of the light yet full-flavored broth that’s way too delectable to be wasted.

Cioppino 2

I’ve eaten Cioppino in many places, and it’s always made a little differently, depending on where you get it at.  Typically, there is a variety of shelled seafood (clams, mussels, shrimp, crab, etc.) combined with chunks of firm fish.  All swimming in an indescribably delicious warm broth.  If you can’t get certain shellfish but can get a hold of others, just sub with what is available to you.  Keep the shells on for cooking, as that is what lends the broth its amazing flavor.

Make it a date for two, or a dinner for eight.  My fave part – this phenomenal broth can be made the day before, and just add seafood the day of.  Enjoy!

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RECIPE (about 6 servings)

INGREDIENTS

2 medium onions, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 dried bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp table salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup light olive oil
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, seeded and diced
2 TB tomato paste
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 can (28-32 oz) can whole plum tomatoes, drained and chopped.  Juices reserved.
1 cup bottled clam juice
1 cup chicken or fish broth
2 TB white sugar
20 hard shelled clams
20 shelled mussels
1 lb firm fish (ie., halibut, snapper, or salmon)
1 lb very large shrimp (16-20 count-size), deveined, shell-on
1 lb large sea scallops, muscles removed from side if attached
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, freshly chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, freshly chopped
Crusty bread for serving


DIRECTIONS

Place first seven ingredients in a large heavy pot or dutch oven over moderate heat.  Cook until onions are soft, 5 min.  Stir in celery, bell pepper, and tomato paste, cooking 1 min.  Add wine and boil until reduced by about half, 5-6 min.  Stir in tomatoes, their juices, claim juice, broth, and sugar.  Simmer covered 30 min.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

(At this point, broth may be cooled and placed in fridge overnight.  When ready to serve, just bring broth back to simmer and continue with recipe.)

If ready to serve:  Bring stew to simmer.  Add clams and mussels until shells just open, checking every minute and transferring opened clams/mussels to a separate bowl with tongs immediately when they open.  Remaining unopened shellfish should be tossed out.  Lightly season fish fillets, shrimp, and scallops with salt/pepper.  Add them to the stew and simmer covered 3 minutes or just until shrimp turns opaque.  If shrimp turns opaque before the fish is done, remove shrimp to prevent overcooking.

Turn off heat and leave uncovered.  Discard bay leaves.  Return all cooked shellfish back into the stew.  Add parsley.  Serve warm stew in bowls, garnishing with fresh basil.  Serve with crusty bread.

By:  Chew Out Loud, adapted by Gourmet

Wine Pairing:  A good quality dry Sauvignon Blanc or crisp Rose will go beautifully here.

Notes:  Feel free to use whatever fresh/good quality seafood is available to you.  Many people like to include crab legs.  The most important thing is not to overcook the seafood.  If I have any leftovers, sometimes I pour it over al dente pasta the next day… amazing.

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Cantina Steak Burrito

11 Feb

Fast ‘n easy burritos have come a long way, in my humble book.  I recall a few crazy days in my childhood when my hard-working mom would hurriedly dish out quick bean and cheese burritos for our lunch.  Then, in high school, there were those interesting burritos in the lunch line.  And don’t forget college days when frozen burritos could be considered a well-rounded meal.  Nowadays, a burrito on-the-go means something completely different than what it meant back in the day. Cantina Steak Burrito

Today Hubby took one of our boys out for their usual father/son outing.  After their fun adventure, they sweetly brought lunch home for me.  This big Cantina Steak Burrito is what I pulled out of my bag.  A far cry from the to-go burritos of my youth.  I’m suddenly hungry.

It’s been awhile since we’ve been to Taco Bell, and we don’t do much fast food, but seriously?  After sinking our teeth into this flavorful burrito, we’ll go back for seconds.  It’s hefty enough to share if you’re willing, and filled with fresh ingredients that you normally wouldn’t expect on a drive-thru menu.  I want to try to chicken version, which Chef Lorena  shares her recipe for.

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Did I say hefty?  Savory pieces of steak, tender rice, black beans, roasted corn, guacamole, and creamy cilantro-lime sauce.   Tucked snugly in a big, chewy, flour tortilla that’s browned on the exterior.

When Hubby heard my “mmm,” he wanted a bite of my lunch.

Cantina Steak Burrito 3

Huh.  The little guy somehow got his hands on half of my food.  But tomorrow’s his birthday, so I’ll be nice and share.  Just this once 🙂

This post was sponsored by Taco Bell, but all opinions are entirely my own.

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This post is sponsored by Taco Bell. See how great our steak is when you try the new Cantina Steak Burrito. Because when it comes to a great steak burrito, it’s all about the steak.

Easy Cheesy Ravioli Bake

23 Oct Cheesy Ravioli with meat sauce

If your household is anything like mine, there is a hectic quality to weeknights that can leave little time for cooking.  Between Hubby, myself, and the kids…somebody is either coming or going.  Those few hours after work or school can equal time crunch.

Easy yet tasty recipes are coveted on tightly scheduled weeknights.  As rushed as it can get, we all still appreciate something yummy to sit down to at dinner time.

Cheesy Ravioli with meat sauce

Between the kids’ sports and homework, what’s a girl to do for dinner?  Answer:  Easy, Cheesy Ravioli Bake.  YUM.  This dish single-handedly converted my kids into ravioli fans.  I usually whip up a hearty meat sauce using ground turkey or beef for this casserole.  You can easily make this meatless by, well,  omitting the meat 🙂

Cheesy Ravioli with meat sauce

It’s amazing that frozen ravioli can be so easily transformed into this hearty and tasty dish, happily packed with tomato sauce, various cheeses, and chunky ground meat.  It’s an entire meal in one dish.  And it tastes like you spent a long time at the stove.

Cheesy Ravioli with meat sauce

The aroma of this bubbly ravioli bake will momentarily divert everyone away from their activities.  “What’s that cooking in the oven?”  Yes, they will answer the call to fulfill that hunger for a delicious, hot meal at the table.

Cheesy Ravioli with meat sauce

As usual, here’s my favorite part:  this casserole is easily assembled the night before!  YES.  I am a major proponent of anything that can be prepped the night before.  Assemble it at night, put it in the fridge, and bake it up right before serving dinner.  Of course, you can just do it all the same day too.  Either way, you’ll want to keep this recipe in your rotation of simply fantastic recipes that can be whipped up in under an hour.  Leftovers make for an awesome lunch the next day!  Enjoy.

RECIPE (one 9×11 dish)

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs ground beef or turkey
1 package (25 ounce) frozen cheese ravioli
1 can/jar (26 oz) Hunts Premium pasta sauce
1 (28 oz) plain (not salted) diced tomatoes, juices reserved
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
2 tsp dried oregano
1 TB freshly ground black pepper
1 TB garlic powder
1 TB onion powder
1 TB white sugar
Freshly grated Parmesan for topping

DIRECTIONS

Cook ground meat in large heavy pot over medium high heat.  Stir and break up pieces until cooked through.  Drain any excess grease.  Turn heat off.

Add pasta sauce and diced tomatoes with juices to the pot.  Add oregano, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and sugar.  Stir to incorporate well.

Spread 1/3 of the meat sauce evenly onto the bottom of a 9×11 baking dish.  Arrange 1/2 of the frozen ravioli over the sauce.  Spread 1/2 of mozzarella and 1/2 of Colby cheeses over the ravioli.  Repeat layers.  You should end with last 1/3 of the sauce on top.  Sprinkle top evenly with Parmesan.

If using right away, cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake at 450F for 50-60 minutes, or until ravioli is tender.

If not using right away, cover tightly with foil and place in fridge.  When ready to use, loosen foil and bake at 450F for 30 minutes.

Source: Chewoutloud

Note:  I like to add frozen chopped spinach to this casserole.  It’s delicious and adds veggie power!  Just be sure it’s defrosted and squeeze out all water before layering it on. 

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

5 Oct Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Recently, I felt compelled to obey that bread-making compulsion that comes calling now and then.  Everyone knows the fall season is synonymous with a sudden onset of baking activity.  For me, that includes bread.   Armed with a craving for rustic bread, an addiction to garlic, and a fondness for the heady aroma of rosemary, I decided to bake the Best Rosemary Garlic Bread ever.  If such a thing can be decided 🙂

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

I was super thrilled that this actually resulted in the Best Rosemary Garlic Bread we’ve ever had.  It’s most definitely a family favorite now.  The mouth watering aroma from the oven is one big ridiculous temptation.  Seriously, we all sooo wanted to tear into this loaf the minute it came out.

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Needless to say, once the dinner bell was officially rung, the bread lasted maybe seconds.   Oh-So-Good.  The exterior has that artisan, rustic texture – a gorgeous golden crisp crust.  The inside?  Everything I’d want in a hearty dinner bread… it’s chewy, soft, yet robust… delicious.  The roasted garlic and rosemary are absolutely meant for one another.  The seasoning flavors this bread perfectly.

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

I always make homemade bread by hand, only because I’ve never purchased a bread maker.  I’ve thought about getting one, but so far it’s been fine without; if you don’t have a bread maker, no worries.  You can absolutely make this fab bread at home with a little extra elbow grease.

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Plan ahead to allow time for rising.  Depending on the temperature of your room, it could take a couple of hours for the dough to double.  I like to put mine in an oven that has been slightly warmed up, which helps the rise time go a bit faster.  No doubt, this bread is so worth it.   You’ll be one popular baker at the dinner table.  Enjoy!

RECIPE (makes 1 loaf)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water, 110-115F
2 tsp white sugar
2 tsp fine salt
3 TB extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 TB dried rosemary
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 head of roasted garlic
extra olive oil for brushing on top and serving
coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top
balsamic vinegar for serving
clean water in spray bottle

DIRECTIONS

In large bowl, Sprinkle yeast into 1 cup warm water.  Mix in the sugar and salt.  Let sit for about 10 minutes or until it foams.  Add in olive oil.  Add flour and knead (by hand or stand mixer) for about 10 minutes.  Add rosemary, black pepper, and oregano.  Knead another 5 minutes.  Finally, gently knead in roasted garlic by hand, about 1 minute.  Dough should come together well at this point; slightly sticky is fine.  Place dough ball in well oiled bowl, turning dough a few times so that dough surfaces are protected by oil.  Tightly cover bowl with cling wrap.  Place in warm, draft-free area to rise until dough is doubled, approx. 1 hour, depending on room temp (if your room is cooler, it could take 2 hours.)

After dough is doubled, punch it down and shape into a rounded loaf.  Using sharp knife, make a criss-cross design on top.  Place rounded loaf on greased baking sheet.  Cover up loaf with large mixing bowl inverted over it.  Make sure bowl is large enough that it gives your loaf room to rise.  Let rise until doubled again, approx 1 hour.

After dough has doubled again, gently brush with olive oil, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and a bit more rosemary.  Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes, spraying loaf with water once during the middle of baking.  Bump oven up to 425F and spray loaf with water again.  Watch carefully – bake just until top is a  nice golden brown, taking care not to over bake.

Serve bread fresh and warm, with your favorite blend of good olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and balsamic vinegar!

by chewoutloud, adapted from Jo’s Rosemary Bread

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